I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Monday, February 6, 2012
Faith: complete trust or confidence
in someone or something
Foolishness: lack of good sense
or judgment; stupidity
This weekend, Jim and I navigated an intense journey of working to determine whether a decision we were making was, in fact, a leap of faith or a serious step towards foolishness. We absolutely believe that we acted in accordance with God's will. While we are very well aware that others (including some of you) will shake your heads and say, "Foolish. Very foolish."
Now, I am absolutely okay with you telling me that you think we were foolish in this decision making process ... as long as you say it with respect. It certainly won't be the first time that anyone has told us we were foolish. (a dozen kids ... adoption ... homeschooling ... you get the picture) We can agree to disagree. As long as we all "play nice", I think it might lead to some good discussion.
Last week, I posted, "Be Still My Mind", telling you about ALL of the STUFF that was weighing heavy on my mind. Some of the heavy STUFF was our current financial situation, Jim's unemployment, my job prospects, etc ... I asked you to pray, and clearly you all were lifting us up in prayer.
I posted the first post at 12:30 am Wednesday morning. You all prayed. At 3:30 that afternoon I got a text from a friend, telling me that her sister's office had an opening. The job looked "perfect" for me. Oh my! I made a quick phone call and had an interview lined up for Thursday afternoon. I wrote the quick post, "Feeling Your Prayers", and gave you all an update.
The Thursday afternoon interview went well, and I was asked to come in for a few hours of "job shadowing" on Friday morning. I wrote the post "Hoping For A Neon Light", and asked you to pray that we would hear CLEARLY from the LORD.
Friday morning's job shadowing went really well. I was offered the job. I accepted.
Then ... driving home ... I thought, "What have I done?" "How can I possibly work outside the home 9-5 every day?" "How will the kids homeschool when Jim gets a job?" "How can I do this to my children?" (After the last few years being so very difficult for all of us, how could I possibly throw another HUGE transition into their lives, when we are on stable ground for the first time in a very long time?) On the flip side, my mind kept telling me, "I need a job." "We need an income." "What happens if we run out of money?"
Did you notice that I did not write an update after Friday's job shadow? I should have been so excited. I should have wanted to come right home and write a post titled, "I Got The Job!" But, I wasn't excited. I was scared to death. What had I just said, "Yes." to? I knew that we needed to focus on some serious prayer time over the weekend.
Yes. I was absolutely wrong in accepting the job. I should have asked for the weekend to pray about it. I have apologized.
I hardly slept.
I prayed some more.
I locked my keys in the car twice in one day (read THIS post).
I continued to pray.
I ran errands in The City on Saturday.
I stopped at Taco Time for dinner.
I read the paper while eating.
I was folding the newspaper when I was finished.
I saw a new Classified Ad on the back page.
Another job possibility that was a "Perfect Fit". However, this job was a "work at home" position with a "flexible schedule". Really?!?! And, it was with a local non-profit organization that I am familiar with and on the mailing list of.
I spent Saturday evening re-writing my resume and writing a cover letter, finally hitting "send" on the email submission at 2:00 am.
This morning (Monday), I phoned Job #1 at 9:15 to explain why I couldn't accept their job offer.
Not 5 minutes later, I got a phone call from Job #2 asking if I was available for a phone interview with the husband/wife Executive Directors this afternoon. Really?!?! The interview went well. I have no idea whether or not I will get the job, but this one really does sound like a "Perfect Fit".
Work From Home
Room For Advancement
While Job #1 was 40 hours per week and Job #2 is only 20 hours per week, Job #2 could pay me nearly double what Job #1 had offered. (And, I wasn't at all upset by Job #1's offer. I knew that was what their organization could afford.)
Keep those prayers coming!!!
I felt really good about the interview, but have no idea how many others they have interviewed.
Now ... back to the Faith or Foolishness ...
Jim and I made the decision that I should NOT accept the other job. We have absolutely no idea how long it will take to find another job. We have no idea how we are going to pay our bills. But ... we know that Mama is NOT supposed to work outside the home from 9-5 every day.
Don't get me wrong ... we see absolutely nothing wrong with working outside the home, it is just not what God has called Our Family to. God called us to have an extra-large family. God called us to homeschool. And, we believe that for right now, God has definitely called me to stay HOME.
Here are a few of the thoughts/questions/ponderings
that we talked about this weekend:
What had God called Our Family to?
Has that calling changed?
It is easy to "Have Faith for God's Provision"
with $20,000 in the savings acct.;
but God still wants us to Trust in Him
even when our savings acct. is down to $2,500.
Are we trusting in God,
or are we trusting in our savings acct.?
If I turn down the job offer,
we won't be any worse off than we were last week.
(we got a good laugh out of that one.)
On the flip side, we did really wrestle with the questions of ...
"What if this job IS God's provision for us?"
"What if Job #2 doesn't come through?"
"Why didn't God give us a clear Red Light or Green Light?
We asked close friends to pray.
We sought counsel from close friends,
and said, "Be honest. Challenge us."
Yes. I turned down a job offer after praying and praying
and praying that the Lord would give Jim (or me?) a job.
Yes. We know that some of you will think that was
about the dumbest thing we could do.
Yes. We realize that our finances could hit "Ground Zero"
if I don't get Job #2.
No. We still don't know God's plan.
No. We didn't get the Neon Light we prayed for.
No. We didn't win the lottery.
(just thought I'd make you laugh ...
we'll never win the lottery because we don't play)
Yesterday, our Pastor talked about knowing God's Will.
He also talked about "hearing the whisper of the Holy Spirit".
We didn't get our Neon Lights this weekend,
but we definitely heard a whisper from the Holy Spirit.
We are at Peace.
We have no doubt that we made the right decision.
We wrestled this weekend,
and we believe that we truly heard from the Lord.
He is our provider.
We will continue to TRUST in Him.
How do YOU determine God's Will
when it comes to very difficult decisions?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Locked Your Keys in Your Car?
How about ...
Twice in One Day?
My brain is SPINNING today.
(or just read this week's posts)
if you don't know what's going on.
I locked my keys in my car today.
In 34 years of driving,
I have NEVER locked my keys in my car.
I was just a couple of blocks from home
the first time, and Papa and the
kids came to my rescue.
after another twist was thrown into
this week's whole lot of craziness ...
I was in my driveway at the end of
a busy day when I did it the 2nd time.
We are still praying for ...
... a Neon Light.
We are faithfully ...
Saturday, February 4, 2012
On Friday & Saturday, I was able to attend the First Annual Refresh Conference in Redmond (near Seattle). It was WONDERFUL, and I so hope that some of YOU will attend with me next year.
The conference only cost $35 to register, and not only included some WONDERFUL speakers, but a YUMMY dessert on Friday night, a continental breakfast on Saturday (w/ a free mocha or latte from the coffee shop), Subway sandwiches for lunch (about 5 kinds to choose from), and ... snacks and drinks available during the entire conference. I absolutely felt PAMPERED!
While the food was EXCELLENT, it did not even come close to being the focus of the conference. There were AWESOME worship times ... GIFTED General Session speakers (some flown in from Idaho, California, and Minnesota) ... a wide variety of Breakout Sessions to choose from ... and a beautiful time of prayer to wrap it up.
Here were the goals of this new conference ...
"Our prayer for you this weekend is twofold. First, we pray you will find your heart newly ignited to the Biblical call of caring for orphaned and vulnerable children. Second, we pray you will have a real time of physical, spiritual and intellectual REFRESHING after acquiring knowledge, skills, resources and allies to help you act decisively in response to this call. Most of all, we pray that countless orphans across our communities, and the entire globe will know the great love of God - personally and tangibly - for decades to come as a result of seeds sown and cultivated here together."
Aren't those great goals?
The first 2 goals were definitely met, and I have no doubt that the 3rd goal will be met, as well. I was truly blessed by my time there ... by the speakers ... by the breakout sessions ... by the new friends I made ... by the Lord meeting me right where I was at, and bringing refreshment to my weary soul.
I'll let you know next year, when it is time to sign up.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
One of you commented on my last post that you are praying we get a Neon Light for direction from the Lord.
Tomorrow morning, I am getting up at 7:30 to head back over to the office where I had my interview today. They would like me to "Job Shadow" the person I would be replacing. I don't quite know how this works. Am I checking them out? Are they checking me out? Probably a bit of both.
Anyway ... after my 3 hour stint tomorrow, I should know whether or not I am being offered the job (and would probably start bright and early Monday morning).
This would mean ...
... Mama goes to work full-time.
... BIG changes for the family.
... Papa does not pursue the out-of-town
positions that he was pretty excited about.
... More responsibility for Ben & Hosanna
if/when Jim has substitute teaching jobs.
... No more 6 week Road Trips with the kids.
It would also mean ...
... We could stretch our savings acct. a little
longer, and pray for painting jobs for the summer.
... We would have a bit more structure to our lives
(which would be a good thing).
... Mama would work with some very nice people
(some of them Believers).
... Mama would feel GOOD
about the work she was doing.
If I don't get the job, it could mean ...
... We hit "ground zero" financially in about 6 weeks.
So, unless the LORD shows me a HUGE STOP LIGHT, than I am thinking that I had better accept the position if it is offered to me. (Jim is supportive, but it is hard for him.)
Just to be clear ... this is a GREAT job! I am VERY excited. If I wasn't a homeschooling mama, there would be no question that I would jump at the opportunity.
Now ... I have worked full-time before, while homeschooling the children. I KNOW I can do it. It is just hard, when our hearts' desire has been for Jim to get a teaching or ministry job. But, after a year of looking ... we really don't know what direction to pursue for him. In the meantime ... an income would be a very good thing.
Please pray that TODAY we would get our NEON LIGHT. GREEN or RED, we just need to know.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I asked you all to pray (read 2 posts down), and prayers are being answered ... opportunities are opening up.
I have a job interview tomorrow afternoon, for a job I didn't apply for, and never even heard about until today ... when another employee of the company phoned and asked if I was interested. I don't actually even know this employee (she is the sister of a friend), but she thought of ME and had already spoken to the Executive Director about me.
It could be "the perfect fit". It involves using my gifts and my passions to impact the lives of orphans and adoptive families. Oh. Yes. It. Does.
My last post listed a LOT of
stressful situations and prayer requests.
THANK YOU for your prayers!
1 Prayer Request Answered ...
a dozen or so more to go.
Rachel will be starting school tomorrow ...
full-time at a small Christian school.
HUGE stress reliever ...
for ALL of us here at home.
And, Rachel is excited.
There has not been one word about,
"It's not fair."
which is a very common discussion starter.
Please pray for Little Miss as she
works through this time of transition.
Sorry I've been out of touch. (smile)
When I go a few days without chatting with my Bloggy Friends, I feel a bit lost.
After last week's Busy Birthday Week, I headed off to the Refresh Conference (for adoptive & foster parents) on Friday and Saturday. It was EXCELLENT! (more details to come ...)
Anyway ... it is Tuesday night. (midnight)
I don't have a lot on my calendar this week. (besides the every day 24/7 busyness of being a homeschooling mama of a dozen children)
But ... my head is SPINNING.
I should be in bed, sleeping next to my sweet husband.
But ... instead ... my mind is racing and doesn't quite know where to stop.
So ... I thought I just might need to "chat" with all of my Bloggy Buddies. (because I know you'll pray for me)
So ... what's on my mind/heart? (in no particular order ... certainly not in order of importance ... but in the order that I can chase down my racing mind and catch a few thoughts)
We had to pay our State Taxes today (for Papa's Painting Business). This took a good chunk out of our remaining savings account. Not fun!
We have another Wedding in a week and a half. If you are counting, this is our 4th child to get married in 14 months. We have so desperately desired to help our children financially for their weddings. But, once again, we have very little to share. Just makes us sad.
Never in our worst nightmares could we have imagined that Papa could not find any work. It has been a full 4 months since he's worked, and he has applied everywhere. We have about 6 weeks worth of funds left in the bank.
2. Job Possibilities
Papa and I go back and forth ... Do we stay here? Do we look for jobs across the country? What do we do if he gets a job and we can't sell our house? (I do not believe our family could survive another nightmare like the 16 months that Papa was pastoring on the island. Little Miss just cannot "lose" another parent.)
When I had 2 good job prospects, we decided that if I got either job we would stay here. I would commit to a full-time job, and Jim would find something to "make up the difference" financially.
When I didn't get either job (although I was #2 of 25 applicants for 1 of the jobs), we began looking elsewhere again.
Jim had a phone interview a week or so ago for a full-time ministry position in a town about 75 miles from here. It sounds interesting; but it doesn't sound like they will actually be hiring for another 5 or 6 months.
This week, we have found 3 potential jobs ... all of them requiring a move:
Job #1 is a full-time ministry job about 150 miles from here (in a town we would LOVE to live in).
Job #2 is a teaching job at a private school in San Antonio, TX.
Job #3 is a school "chaplain" job at a private school in Houston, TX.
3. Parenting Challenges
First of all, I've got a LOT on my mind as I process all that I heard/learned at the adoption conference. While it was GOOD, it was definitely heavy for me, too. I haven't even been able to pull out my notes yet, to tell Jim about the weekend. Too heavy. Too much to process.
We are hoping to enroll Little Miss in a small private school. It's been a process. Tonight a wrinkle got thrown into the plan. Phone calls must be made tomorrow. Do we still want her at the small private school, or should we just enroll her in the school down the street?
Ongoing Big Kid challenges. So sad. So hard. Much prayer still needed.
4. Church Challenges
Our young ones really enjoy Sunday School.
Our teens really enjoy Youth Group (on Sundays and Wednesdays), and we REALLY appreciate how the program is run.
But ... we have been attending this church for a full year, and Papa and I are not connected at all. It is a LONELY place for us. We so wish that our church had small groups to join ... ways to connect besides "women's groups" and "men's groups". We so want to learn and grow together, and have friendships together. We don't really want any more separateness at this point in our lives. (We also don't want Dad gone 1 night and Mom gone another night, since Dad is already gone 1 night/week for Bible Study Fellowship. And ... church is in The City, so we don't want to drive to The City everyday.)
5. Takin' Care of Mama
I was so excited to lose 30# in the fall of 2010. Then came ...
... the marriage crisis.
... the pregnancy.
... the miscarriage.
... the big kid relationship crisis.
... the stress of unemployment.
Sadly, Mama has not been taking care of herself. I have gained back almost every pound of the 30 that I lost. And ... now I need a Mother of the Groom dress and am too afraid to even try on the 3 outfits I bought for the last 3 weddings. Ugh! Anyone got any "lose 10 pounds in 10 days" ideas ???
This was really not a good time for Mama to turn 50. Nope. I don't like it one bit. I have way too much on my plate to add the stress of thinking about being 50. I am laughing when I say this. But ...
This is not where I thought our marriage would be after 30 years.
This is not where I thought Jim's career would be after 30 years.
This is not where I dreamed my relationships with my young adult children would be.
This is not where I thought we would be with church and friends at this point in our lives.
This is not how I wanted to look and feel at 50.
Sorry to dump.
I'm not depressed or anything.
I've just got a LOT on my mind, and would appreciate prayers.
Thanks for Listening! (smile)
Monday, January 30, 2012
We have been involved in a
Parent Partnership Program
this year, which is an
for Homeschool Students,
but is part of the local public school districts.
We go to school about 5 hours per week,
and our kids take science, cooking, music, etc...
Last week, we had an
as a break between semesters.
On Tuesday, the younger kids participated
in a 3 hour Cooking Class on
How to Make Authentic Tamales.
And, on Wednesday, about 50 students and parents
from our school went to the Ice Rink in The City.
Our younger 4 kids have never Ice Skated before,
and Ben & Hosanna have only done it once or twice.
The school paid for 1 parent from each family
to skate, as well. So, Papa decided to skate,
so that I could be the "Team Photographer".
Here are Papa & Ben, enjoying a visit
as they cruise the rink.
Hosanna & Sarah are getting the hang of it.
Josiah was a quick learner, and confident enough
in himself that he offered to help a friend's little boy.
Josiah & Elijah are both wonderful helpers with little ones.
Here are Josiah & Sarah, coming around the rink again.
Josiah & Little Daniel. Aren't they CUTE?
Rachel had a very difficult time learning to skate,
so Hosanna (on the right) and some friends
are helping her, here.
Elijah is quite the little Natural Athlete,
so he was speeding around the rink within minutes.
They all had a GREAT time at the Ice Rink,
and are hoping to go again soon.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Yes ... we have had a BUSY Birthday Week
at the Big D. House.
We actually have 5 birthdays in 6 days
in our immediate family.
Jeremiah ... turned 25 on the 20th.
Sadly, we haven't seen him in nearly a year.
But, several of us were able to chat with him
on his birthday, and wish him a Happy Day!
(Jeremiah is an officer in the Navy, currently
in Flight School in Pensacola, FL.)
Elijah ... turned 10 on the 23rd.
Gregg & Kayla had the day off on Sunday,
so they came up and surprised him with
an early birthday party.
Papa, Mama, Gregg, Kayla, Josiah, & Elijah
went bowling, and then out to dinner at Red Robin.
Then, we came home to cake & ice cream with
Ben, Hosanna, Sarah, & Rachel.
Mama ... turned 50 on the 24th.
I spent the morning at our "enrichment school",
where the younger kids had a 3 hour
class on making Authentic Tamales.
I took Hosanna to get a haircut in the afternoon.
Then, Papa gave me flowers and took me out to dinner
in Canada. I had the BEST steak dinner I've ever had.
Cassie texted me first thing in the morning.
Lindsey SURPRISED me with a phone call from Liberia. Wow!
Carissa phoned from Minnesota.
And, Jeremiah phoned from Florida.
Sarah & Rachel made me some CUTE birthday cards.
Grandpa spent $12 on Express Mail to get
my birthday card to me on time. So sweet!
Carissa & Lindsey ... turned 23 on the 25th.
(which actually makes 4 birthdays in 3 days)
Carissa returned from Argentina last spring,
after 3 years there with YWAM,
and is currently living in Minnesota.
Lindsey is ministering in Liberia, West Africa
for 7 weeks with YWAM.
The day after my birthday, Elijah asked,
"Mom, do you feel 50?"
"No. Do you feel 10?"
I guess we are both wanting to stay young.
On Wednesday, we got to go Ice Skating
with our Homeschool Enrichment Program.
The kids had MUCH fun!
(pics coming soon)
On Thursday, I went with Ben to an
appt. with his ear surgeon.
(time to schedule surgery)
Today, we are babysitting 3 kids (ages 3, 5, 7)
while our friends move. Papa took the kids
to the beach, while I got ready to go on
a little overnight trip.
Yes. Mama is going to an Adoption Conference
in the Seattle Area. I just found out about it
this week, and the registration was just $35.
Hoping & Praying for some information
that will bring a breakthrough in our
parenting of Rachel.
Also ... this week ... found out about a new
therapist (in our little farming town) that specializes
in Attachment Issues. We will be attending
a free workshop with her on Feb. 7th,
and are truly hoping that she is an
Answer To Our Prayers.
(more details coming soon)
Well ... time to head towards Seattle,
hoping to arrive before the traffic gets crazy.
Looking forward to 24 hours with
other adoptive parents who are
walking a similar journey.
And, looking forward to seeing my friend, Lisa,
who will be presenting a workshop or two.
Hoping you all had a GREAT week,
and that you will have a BLESSED weekend!